Shared Services Canada’s success stories

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is modernizing and securing the Government of Canada's information technology (IT) infrastructure – the backbone of some of the most critical programs and services that Canadians rely on every day. Every time Canadians cross the border, check the weather, or apply for key benefits, SSC is there working behind the scenes.

Employees at SSC have the opportunity to support 43 organizations with different mandates. This kind of work environment makes SSC a unique place for public servants to work. From supercomputers to accessible technologies, mobile IT to security, SSC plays a part in the leading edge of technology.

In 2017, the Clerk of the Privy Council asked government departments to share stories that highlight the exceptional work of public servants to serve the government, Canadians, and their fellow public servants, and the impact of that work.

Connecting thousands to Vimy Ridge

SSC’s Network, End Users and Cyber Security Projects Directorate played a vital role in providing Wi-Fi services on April 9, 2017, to approximately 25,000 people gathered in France to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The planning and installation of IT infrastructure to service users at Vimy Ridge, in collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), was completed in just 6-months — quite a feat despite regular heavy rainfalls and the distance.

Guests at the commemoration ceremony included Canada’s previous Governor General, David Johnston, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; former French President, François Hollande; the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Many of the guests promoted the commemoration using photographs, email and social media posts, sharing their experience with family and friends back home in Canada and around the globe. VAC, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were among key departments that were able to post from their official accounts as a result of this infrastructure.

The work behind this initiative has long-lasting benefits for visitors to Vimy Ridge as the Wi-Fi infrastructure not only services the Ridge, but also the Visitor Education Centre, which also opened in April 2017.

SSC also highlighted its close partnership with VAC by producing a video demonstrating SSC’s support to veterans and members of our Canadian Armed Forces. The video, Shared Services Canada: Supporting Canadian Veterans, emphasizes the work accomplished with VAC this past year, which includes supporting them with the celebrations of Vimy Ridge and Beaumont-Hamel, as well as providing IT services and technology for the reopening of nine of their locations across Canada. This technology also enables case managers and veterans service agents to visit and support veterans and their families coast to coast.

High Performance Computing services

In September 2017, SSC upgraded its existing High Performance Computing (HPC) environment with a new, state-of-the-art IT solution. Composed of supercomputers, it is the fastest recorded computer platform in the Government of Canada, as per the TOP500 supercomputer organization, and among the fastest in the world.

HPC benefits many federal organizations: Environment and Climate Change Canada to improve the accuracy and timeliness of weather warnings and forecasts, Health Canada for air quality alerts, Fisheries and Oceans Canada to support ocean modelling and Public Safety Canada to support environmental emergency prevention—to name just a few.

A complex project requiring contracting and procurement, project management, system migration, optimization and integration as well as commercial acceptance, and benchmarking. SSC is very proud of this achievement and the dedication of our employees to reach this important milestone.

Leading the way in adaptive technology

SSC’s Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology Program is an internationally recognized force in the fields of accessibility, accommodation and adaptive computer technology. It helps public servants with disabilities, injuries or ergonomic requirements to access adaptive technologies, such as systems, programs, information and computers that would be otherwise difficult or impossible for them to use. Everything from ergonomic keyboards and reading devices that use artificial intelligence, to providing accessibility components to systems.

These technologies and services remove barriers for employees with disabilities or injuries to help them participate to their full potential and create an inclusive workplace.

To space and beyond

SSC is part of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) missions during space operations and provides back-up support to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and RADARSAT-2. Our supercomputing specialists even went to Utah in late 2016 for CSA’s CanMars rover launch. Talk about a cool way to support government’s IT initiatives on Mars!

Protecting our precious assets

SSC analysts detect malware and have the opportunity to interact with companies who are delivering global end-protection. SSC employees contribute to global cyber security defence capabilities. This work protects Government of Canada infrastructure and Canadian citizens by reducing threats capable of exploiting desktops and infrastructures. SSC supports:

  • Global Affairs Canada in establishing IT infrastructure for missions around the world
  • the National Research Council, the Department of National Defence, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and others for satellite services in remote areas of northern Canada
  • the RCMP for in-car cameras in some regions
  • the Government of Canada with monitoring and protecting their network and systems against cyber threats, malicious software and ransomware, and notably played a lead role in managing the cyber vulnerability related to the Apache Struts2 software

Responding to critical information technology incidents

SSC plays a key role with the RCMP in responding to critical IT incidents and outages. Many RCMP Civilian Members (CM) are seconded to SSC, and work on a daily basis with the design, deployment, and support of operational and administrative infrastructure, and IT systems. These systems are heavily relied upon by front-line officers and trusted external partners and agencies.

The efforts of CMs to maintain a secure and smoothly running environment don’t go unnoticed. CMs are always the first to respond to any critical IT incident or outage, and the last to “stand down,” only after the issue is fully resolved. Earlier this year, a number of government buildings in Bay d’Espoir, Newfoundland, were the target of an arsonist, including the RCMP detachment. To help respond to this incident, a small group of SSC employees took a ferry across the North Atlantic Ocean over the weekend to fix the RCMP telecommunications system and build a temporary detachment.

Our employees are quick to respond to resolve major IT incidents and continue to support Canada as a safe place to live.

Helping asylum seekers enter Canada

SSC lent a hand this year with responding to the influx of asylum seekers in the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle region in Quebec. The department provided IT infrastructure support in the region to facilitate triage and processing of asylum seekers. SSC also supported various departments, such as the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and Public Safety, with increasing their bandwidth of network and telephone connections. By increasing the bandwidth, SSC helped these departments ensure that there was connection for emergency response, and to help facilitate the processing of requests. Collectively, these departments worked together to resolve the needs of temporary accommodations, triage centres and joint processing centres.

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